Saturday, December 17, 2016

Clinton Democrats build a mind palace

By John Kass
December 13, 2016
Image result for hillary clinton harry reid december 2016
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, smiles as Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., poses her for a photograph during a ceremony to unveil a portrait of Reid, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

The Clinton Democratic left has created a vast mind palace, an artificial world where they may craft a safe space, protected from post-traumatic Trump (election) disorder.
In this pleasant mind palace of theirs, where they don't have to address Democratic failings, Hillary Clinton's numerous faults and stupendous strategic blunders, two things stand out:
The CIA is now the left's champion of truth and beauty.
And Russia, once the friend of the useful American left, is now its enemy.
Much of this has been kick-started again by a story in The Washington Post saying that the CIA — according to anonymous sources — has concluded that Russia hacked into Democratic emails to help elect Republican Donald Trump.
The FBI, reportedly, disagrees with some findings. And the Reuters news service reports that the Office of National Intelligence, the group that oversees the U.S. spy community, will not embrace the CIA assessment for a lack of evidence.
It's also emboldened outgoing Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, the clean-faced prince of sincerity from Nevada, to all but accuse FBI Director James Comey of being a Russian agent for not publicly investigating the allegations about Russian hacking as Reid would like.
"I think (Comey) should be investigated by the Senate, he should be investigated by other agencies of the government, including the security agencies," Reid said in an interview with MSNBC. "I am so disappointed in Comey. He has let the country down for partisan purposes."
Have you no decency, senator?
And I'd like to add, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
But that's been said before. And Sen. Reid knows it.
Only a short time ago, many on the left hated the CIA and thought the American intelligence service to be evil, a vast secret bureaucracy bent on destabilizing other governments and engineering foreign elections.
And many of these who now use the CIA as their champion have long insisted that Russia was not the enemy, that the Russians were misunderstood by war-mongering conservative troglodytes bent on bankrupting the country by selling weapons to the military industrial complex.
Anyone who thought Russia was the problem was to be mocked by the media and other political wits.
"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back," PresidentBarack Obama famously quipped at 2012 challenger Republican Mitt Romney, who dared suggest Russia was a problem, "because ... the cold war's been over for 20 years."
Obama smirked, like some Hollywood actor playing a duelist after that final lunge of victory. And his line about Russia was repeated again and again, and fashioned by his favorite pundits into a pin.
Romney was ridiculed, left to wriggle on the pin like that spider on the board.
So the drumbeat continues for a congressional investigation. Given the seriousness of the charge, it sounds prudent to have an investigation, and Republicans and Democrats are calling for it.
If it were up to me, I'd ask for a bipartisan commission, like the 9/11 Commission. They might even go back in time, to the Clinton-Gore Chinagate scandals of the 1990s, and lump China and Russia together, so that Americans may be primed into accepting more and more spending on defense contracts.
When China was thought to have tried to influence our politics through questionable donations to the Clinton-Gore campaign, the Democrats cried foul. During the hearings, the late Democratic Sen. John Glenn ran interference for the Clinton White House, and the old astronaut was rewarded with another trip to outer space.
Naturally, Trump angrily dismisses the CIA Russian hack story as "ridiculous."
Trump's flip response is defensive and somewhat childish, and so typically Trump.
What he should have done is welcome an inquiry and continue to go about his business building a Cabinet.
But Trump's defensiveness is also understandable, since the Democrats aren't using the Russia hack story to protect the republic. This is about Democrats — and Republicans — stripping legitimacy from the incoming president.
None of the "hacked" and leaked emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee were said to be untrue.
Not the rigging of the Democratic primaries for Clinton, nor the cozy relationship between the Clinton campaign and the media, not the release of her secret Wall Street speeches, including one in which she dreamed of open U.S. borders.
Podesta is pleading with Democratic presidential electors to consider the CIA story before casting their final votes for president.
Vladimir Putin must be a devious fellow indeed. He's so crafty that his hacks gave the popular vote to Clinton and the Electoral College to Trump. The Electoral College — a vote of the states — is how we do things here.
It might be also useful to remember the uproar of the campaign, when during the last Clinton-Trump debate, the Republican wouldn't immediately say he'd concede if he lost the election.
That was the time when most (not all) analysts had Clinton running away with it, and they repeated again and again there was no path to victory for Trump.
"We are a country based on laws," a horrified Clinton said. "And we've had hot, contested elections going back to the very beginning, but one of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our elections."
Unless, of course, reality doesn't turn out as expected, and a mind palace must be created, a place so lovely that some never leave and lock the gates from the inside.
Listen to "The Chicago Way" podcast, with guests Dan Proft and Kristen McQueary, here:
Twitter @John_Kass

Hate Crime Hysteria

A “victim” of a high-profile anti-Muslim incident recants, embarrassing New York politicians who bought her story whole-cloth.
By Seth Barron
December 15, 2016
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Since Election Day, New York City officials have spoken regularly and emphatically about a rise in hate crimes, particularly those directed at Muslims. Gotham’s political leadership sees an obvious connection between Donald Trump’s victory and an uptick in hateful incidents. Mayor Bill de Blasio asserts that the rise “is documented . . . . It’s generated by the rhetoric that was used in the election. It’s not a surprise.” He also said, just a few days after the election, “some people now, unfortunately, take a signal from Donald Trump’s rhetoric that it’s open season against all the different kinds of people that Trump insulted and denigrated in his campaign.”
The mayor’s racial-hate narrative took an unexpected turn this week when one “victim” confessed that her story was entirely false. Yasmin Seweid, an 18-year-old Muslim woman, had told the police that she was accosted on the subway by three drunk white men who screamed insults at her, tried to pull off her headscarf, chanted Trump’s name, called her a terrorist, and told her to “go back to her country.” According to Seweid, there were many people on the train who saw what happened, but no one said or did anything. “It breaks my heart that so many individuals chose to be bystanders while watching me get harassed verbally and physically by these disgusting pigs,” she wrote on Facebook.
This last detail—that subway passengers in lower Manhattan ignored a young woman being violently assaulted—inspired visceral reactions among credulous New Yorkers who were primed to believe that Donald Trump’s victory had unleashed a flood of violent hate. City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito tweeted, “DESPICABLE! #StandUpNYC!! No more silence. No more hate.” A number of demonstrators from a Brooklyn synagogue stood in the middle of Grand Central Terminal and unfurled a banner reading “#NotInOurCity,” which turned out to be literally true, as the attack had in fact not happened in their city, or any city. Seweid has admitted that she made up the story as a way to keep her strict father from learning that she was out drinking with a Christian boyfriend. She has been arrested for filing a false police report.
In the 28-day period following November 8, the number of hate incidents reported by the NYPD rose from 20 in 2015 to 43 in 2016. Most of these incidents were anti-Semitic: hate incidents against Jews tripled year-over-year, from eight to 24. Anti-Muslim hate increased as well, from two incidents in 2015 to four in 2016 (including the bogus attack on Seweid—three if her case is excluded). There were no anti-Hispanic attacks in the 4-week period in either 2015 or 2016. Anti-black hate crimes dropped from two in 2015 to one this year. Anti-gay hate incidents went from four to five. Curiously, the sharpest increase in hate violence was against a group that is rarely mentioned in these discussions: anti-white hate crime rose from one incident in 2015 to five this year, according to the NYPD.  
Hate-crime statistics can be somewhat opaque as they include an enormous range of crimes. An attempt to shove someone in front of a train, while screaming, “I hate white people,” which happened on November 21 in Harlem, is apparently accorded the same significance as a swastika scrawled underneath the words “Praise Trump” in a derelict phone booth in Hell’s Kitchen. Asked if graffiti is counted in hate-crime statistics, de Blasio said, “I would assume so.” The NYPD did not respond to the same question when asked.
A high-profile anti-Semitic hate crime occurred in tony Brooklyn Heights at Adam Yauch Park, where some unknown individuals clumsily spray-painted swastikas with the word “Go Trump.” Hundreds of people gathered at the park, named for one of the Beastie Boys, to decry hatred, and blame Donald Trump and his supporters for the vandalism. “I am ordering the State Police to put together a special unit to address the explosion of hate crimes in our state,” announced Governor Andrew Cuomo in response.
Hate in itself is no crime: “hate crimes” are just crimes where a particular motive has been ascribed to the perpetrator for the purposes of giving longer sentences. Thus, hate crimes require insight into the state of mind of the criminal, which in the case of graffiti is usually impossible to ascertain. Without such knowledge, it can’t be known whether someone who draws a swastika with the word “Trump” on a playground is actually a Nazi, or is just trying to make an anti-Trump statement. Real incidents of bigoted violence are nothing to laugh at or be skeptical about. But it doesn’t serve the civic project, or the victims of actual crime, to treat every allegation or scribble as evidence of a growing tide of hate. ​
Seth Barron is project director of the Manhattan Institute’s NYC Initiative. He blogs about New York City politics at City Council Watch.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Of Course Russia Meddles in Our Elections — But the ‘Hacking’ Claim Is a Farce

The current spectacle has little to do with Russian intelligence — it’s about Democrats wanting an election do-over.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — December 14, 2016
(Ivan Sekretarev/Reuters)

The hypocrisy oozing from the peddling of this week’s narrative about Russian “meddling” in the U.S. presidential election is thick even by the sorry standards of modern American politics.

I feel entitled to be amused, having maintained, through a decade of bipartisan idiocy, that Putin’s thug-ocracy is an enemy of the United States: from the Bush-administration howler that Russia is our “strategic partner,” through eight years of the Obama-Hillary “reset”; from Obama’s mumbling as Putin annexed Crimea and other swathes of Ukraine (after Obama, as a senator, joined with senior Republicans to disarm Ukraine), through Bush’s mumbling as Putin annexed swathes of Georgia. I saw Russia as a major problem long before it began violating the “new START” treaty that Obama signed and Republicans approved; before Secretary Clinton helped Putin cronies acquire a major slice of American uranium stock; and before Obama’s promise to Vlad (communicated through Putin-puppet Medvedev) that he’d have “more flexibility” to cut deals after the 2012 election.

Suffice it to say that if the American political class is suddenly worried about Russian aggression, deceit, cyber-espionage, and collaboration with Iran (in order to — get this! — fight terrorism), I welcome it to the club. And if the gray beards are fretting over Donald Trump’s potential coziness with our enemies, that’s good to hear . . . although it would have been nice to have a fraction of that fretting when it came to the Obama-Clinton operational coziness with our enemies.

All that said, the Democrats’ Chicken Little routine can’t be serious, nor is the chattering class that pretends to take it seriously.

To begin with, it would be shocking if the Russians had not attempted to meddle in our election. Historically, they’ve done it countless times (I assume, every time). That’s what hostiles do, they make mischief when and where they can. Democrats, moreover, conveniently forget that they’ve historically welcomed such mischief-making — such as when Jimmy Carter pleaded with Leonid Brezhnev for Soviet help in the futile effort to defeat Ronald Reagan in 1980 and when Ted Kennedy pleaded with Yuri Andropov for Soviet help in the futile effort to defeat Reagan in 1984.

If the American intelligence community (IC), after considered chin stroking, had concluded that there had been no Russian attempts to meddle in the presidential election, I imagine most taxpayers would say we want our $50 billion per annum back — a reaction that may be warranted in any event given the IC’s propensity to politicize its reports and to miss major developments from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, and from the rise of jihadist Iran to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
According to the Democrat-media complex, the IC believes Russia not only meddled in our election but intentionally swung it to Trump. Indeed, to hear them tell it, our spies haven’t been this sure of something since that “slam-dunk” about Saddam hoarding WMDs.

In point of fact, though, they don’t even have proof that pins hacking on Putin’s regime. The main heavy breathing comes from the Washington Post. If you invest the time it takes to read through the first 26 paragraphs of its explosive report, you are finally told that the Post’s sources — anonymous “intelligence officials” — admit that the “actors” who came into possession of hacked files are “‘one step’ removed from the Russian government.” They may have “affiliations” to Russian intelligence services, but what exactly that means the sources can’t say. No wonder that the FBI, which is expected to be able to prove the allegations it makes, disagrees with the Post’s unidentified leakers. No wonder that other intelligence sources tell the Wall Street Journal’s editors that the leakers’ evidence is “thin.” (Since this column was written, the New York Times has published a lengthy report to undergird the “Russia Hacked the Election” narrative; I had a brief reaction to it on the Corner this morning.)

Even if we assume (as I do) that Putin’s regime was trying to intervene in the election, the claim that its clear intention was to help Trump is a stretch.

It is worth remembering that in March 2014, when 50,000 Russian troops were marshaled on the Ukrainian border (shortly after Putin had annexed Crimea, and six years after he took parts of Georgia), Obama-administration officials told the Wall Street Journal, “What matters is [Putin’s] intent, and we don’t have a sense of that.” Now, however, despite a comparative dearth of evidence, the CIA suddenly has ESP. Based on what? Evidently, the Post’s anonymous leakers are inferring a Russian rooting interest from the appearance — they can’t say it’s a fact — that greater effort was made to hack the Democrats than the Republicans.

This claim belongs in the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.

Remember how bonkers the Democrat-media complex went toward the end of the campaign when Trump said the election was “rigged”? The media immediately demanded hard proof that the voting process was corrupted — that there had been tampering of the polling machines or a flood of ineligible voters casting ballots. Unable to produce such probative evidence, Trump moved the goal post: What he’d meant by “rigged,” his camp now said, was not really vote fraud but blatantly biased news coverage — Trump’s indiscretions were magnified while Hillary’s were barely covered.

This prompted great Democrat-media ridicule: Trump had to climb down, they scoffed, because he’d made an absurd “rigging the election” allegation that he couldn’t back up. It was said that Trump was reduced to squawking about one-sided coverage because he couldn’t show that what the press was reporting about him was untrue.

Well what have we here?

The Democrats and their media note takers started out telling us that the Russians had “hacked” the election. But when hard proof is demanded, they must admit that there is not a scintilla of suggestion that Putin’s intelligence operatives tampered with votes — in fact, since most of the polling is not online, there’s not even evidence that an election could be hacked. So now, Democrats have moved the goal post: What they meant by “hacked,” we’re told, is not really vote fraud but blatantly biased leaking — the Democrats’ embarrassing communications were exposed while the GOP’s remained concealed.

So . . . where is the ridicule? You’re not hearing it because the media is hoping you won’t notice the Democrats’ climb down. They made an absurd “hacking the election” allegation that they can’t back up. At most, what happened here is: The Russians did to Democrats exactly what the media does to Republicans — they subjected one side to intense scrutiny while giving the other side a pass.

As we saw with Trump, when Republicans complain about one-sided coverage, the usual media retort is to ask whether anything that has been reported about them is untrue. With the shoe now on the other foot, though, Democrats duck this question. Why? Because they know the hacked e-mails are authentic — Debbie Wasserman Shultz really did skew the nomination process to help Clinton stave off Bernie Sanders; Donna Brazile really did leak the debate questions to the Clinton camp; the Democrats really do look at journalists as members of the team; top Clinton aides really did mock Catholics; Clinton advisers really did worry about Obama’s e-mails to Clinton’s private account — and about the fact that the president was lying when he claimed to have learned about Clinton’s use of private e-mail through news reports. Clinton and her top staffers really did stonewall the public on her private e-mails because “they wanted to get away with it.

Here’s the reality: Everyone knows the Russians meddle in our elections, just as they nefariously meddle in much else. That is why it was so reckless of Clinton to keep our nation’s most closely guarded defense secrets on a private, non-secure e-mail system. Up until November 8, Democrats told us there was no reason to be alarmed about such vulnerabilities in the face of likely Russian hacking. Now, hacking is suddenly a crisis — not because the Russians are doing anything different, but because Hillary lost.

Even if the Russians did want Trump to win, what difference, at this point, does it make? The United States is the world’s most consequential nation, so lots of countries figure they have a stake in the outcome of our elections — and some, if they have the requisite capabilities, try in various ways to influence the outcome . . . just as the Obama administration has tried to influence the outcome of Israeli elections, the Brexit referendum, and other foreign contests.

The fact that they think one side or the other would be better for them does not make it so. More to the point, unless there is evidence that the meddlers have fiddled with the vote count, who cares? Under our law, it is permissible to sway the outcome of an election based on false information — just ask Harry Reid. What’s the Democrat-media complaint? That there was too much true information?

Want to recognize Russia as an enemy? Want Congress to do a thoroughgoing investigation of all its espionage and meddling in our country, including efforts to influence election outcomes? Want to hold Trump’s feet to the fire because you’re worried that he and some of his subordinates seem oddly well-disposed toward Putin, a murderous, anti-American dictator? By all means, let’s do it. It’s way past time.

But let’s not pretend the “Russia hacked the election” farce is anything other than what it is: a scheme by the Democrat-media complex to rationalize a do-over — to persuade the Electoral College that it is not bound by the election results. The spectacle we’re watching has nothing to do with Russia.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Today's Tune: Bruce Cockburn - The Cry of a Tiny Babe

The Arrogant Ignorance of the “Well-Educated”

March 28, 2016
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The School of Athens, 1510-1511 - Raphael

On more than one occasion my essays for The Imaginative Conservative have been inspired by bumper stickers. Many moons ago, for instance, I wrote “The Wisdom and Wickedness of Women” in response to seeing a bumper sticker declaring that “Well Behaved Women Do Not Make History.” Recently, sitting in traffic, I saw this very same bumper sticker on the car in front of me, beside another which declared the following: “What you call the Liberal Elite, we call being well-educated.” The juxtaposition of these two stickers, carefully selected by the car’s owner to teach me a lesson, set me thinking. I might even say that it taught me a valuable lesson, though not the lesson that my neighbor in the car in front of me meant to teach me.
Let’s take the second bumper sticker first. Clearly designed to offend other motorists, it is supremely supercilious and extremely arrogant. We, the average Joe, whoever we may be, are not as “well-educated” as the royal “we” driving the car in front of us. This pompous “we,” who is presumably a she, presumes that anyone who disagrees with her is poorly educated, whereas she, of course, is well-educated. If we were as well-educated as she, we would agree with her.
To be fair to her, she is basing her presumption on data that shows that those who are “well-educated” tend to vote for the Democrats whereas those who are less “educated” tend to vote Republican. She votes Democrat because she is well-educated. We, who are presumed to be Republicans (because we are presumed to be stupid), complain that those who are better educated than us (and are therefore better than us) are part of an elite.
The problem is that her education is not as good as she thinks it is. If she was educated in our secular system, she would have learned nothing whatsoever about theology, presuming that, if there is a God, he, or probably she, agrees with us. If he or she does not agree with us, he or she can go to hell. And, of course, we can tell God to go to hell because he or she is made in our image (we are not made in his/hers) and we can do what we like with him or her. In short, we can treat God with the same arrogance and superciliousness with which we treat our neighbor: “What God calls sin, we call being well-educated.”
If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of philosophy, or, if she does, she will believe that there was no philosophy worth taking seriously before René Descartes. She will know nothing of the philosophy of the Greeks, of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and still less of the great Christian philosophers, such as Augustine or Aquinas. Insofar as she’s even heard of these people, she will presume that they did not know what they were talking about: “What the ancient philosophers call error, we call being well-educated.”
If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of history, or, if she does, she will know it only from her own twenty-first century perspective, or from the twenty-first century perspective of those who taught it to her. History is not about learning from the people of the past, their triumphs and their mistakes, but is about sitting in judgment on the stupidity of our ancestors, who are presumed to be unenlightened, or at least not as enlightened as she is or her teachers are. “What the people of the past believed to be immoral, we call being well-educated.”
If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of great literature, or, if she does, she will have misread it from the perspective of her own twenty-first century pride and prejudice, or from the proud and prejudiced twenty-first century perspective of those who taught her. She would not think of trying to read the great authors of the past through their own eyes because, living in the past, such authors lack the sense and sensibility which she has. “What Jane Austen calls pride and prejudice, we call being well-educated.”
Once we understand what being “well-educated” actually means in the deplorably illiterate age in which we find ourselves, we are not surprised to find these two bumper stickers side by side. One who is “educated” in this way, will obviously believe that “well-behaved women do not make history.” What we, the uneducated, call bad behavior, the liberal elite call being well-educated.
To be “well-educated” is to be ignorant of theology, philosophy, history and the great books of civilization. It is to believe that we have nothing to learn from the Great Conversation that has animated human discourse for three millennia. It is to treat our neighbor in the car next to us with supercilious and scornful contempt, presuming that he is stupid because he is not as “well-educated” as we. It is to treat the greatest minds and the most brilliant writers in history with contempt because they are not as “well-educated” as we. In short, to be “well-educated” is not merely ignorance, it is the arrogance of ignorance.
Books by Joseph Pearce may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.  

Jim Brown: 'I fell in love with' Trump after today's meeting

December 13, 2016
Jim Brown, Ray Lewis Comment on Meeting President-Elect Donald Trump
Jim Brown and Ray Lewis at Trump Tower on Tuesday. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images
NFL icon and civil rights leader Jim Brown, a former Hillary Clinton supporter, sang President-elect Trump's praises after meeting with him at Trump Tower earlier Tuesday, and predicted Trump would stay in office two terms.
"He's going to be our man for the next four years at least, probably eight, and he's amenable to listening to people who did not vote for him," Brown told CNN. "I fell in love with him because he really talks about helping African-American, black people and that's why I'm here."
"[W]hat he went through to become the president, he got my admiration. Because no one gave him a chance, you know? They called him names, people that called him names when he won he reached back and brought them along with him. He held no grudges," Brown added.
Brown and former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis met with Trump to discuss partnering with Brown's Amer-I-Can outreach program as the administration rolls out its plan to help black communities battling unemployment, poverty and crime.
"We talked about making America a better country. We talked about the poor people. We talked about African-American people. We talked about education, getting rid of violence. Dealing with economic development realistically and how to work together," said Brown.
Brown also said it's a non-issue that Trump's Cabinet is mostly made up of white men.
"I'll say this to you, and I don't ever say this, the three greatest people in my life were white. My high school coach, my high school superintendent and my mentor in Long Island," Brown said. "But I was in this country where I got help from people that were not of my same color so when I come out of the box, I don't come out of the box as racial, I look for good people and people that will be like-minded and help me try to do good for other human beings so that's where I'm coming from." 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Silent Night

By Mark Steyn
December 12, 2016

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Security forces examine the scene inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. The blast at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral killed dozens of people and wounded many others on Sunday, according to Egyptian state television, making it one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

To the virtue-signalers of the post-Christian west, a victim of persecution is a Muslim male purporting to be a "refugee", a "Syrian" and a "child". The fraudulence of the "refugee" tide should not blind us to the fact that every day there are genuine victims of persecution in that benighted part of the world. For example, the 25 dead and many more wounded in St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo yesterday:
The explosion on Sunday, caused by a device containing at least 26 pounds of TNT, was carried out inside the chapel adjoining the main hall of the church, officials said...
Cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous told The Associated Press, "I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews, it was a horrible scene."
Reuters reports that although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, supporters of the Islamic State terror group celebrated the deaths of the victims on social media.
"God bless the person who did this blessed act," one IS supporter wrote on Telegram.
I think you'll find he wrote "Allah bless the person", and, linguistically, it would be helpful if the likes of Reuters were to distinguish between "God" and "Allah". After all, this ISIS savage seems to think that, notwithstanding Jews, Christians and Muslims are all "people of the book", it's blessed for one people of the book to slaughter the other two people of the book - because the allegedly shared book is less important than the differences of style and garb and affect: you can judge a people of the book by their cover.

So the authorities have now identified the "blessed person" - and surpise surprise!
Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has named a 22-year-old man, Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa as the suicide bomber behind the massacre at Cairo's Coptic cathedral complex on Sunday.
"Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa": "Mostafa" and "Mahmoud" are in essence variations of "Mohamed". So that's like being called Mohammed Shafik Mohammed Mohammed. How many Mohammeds does a guy need? Canadian Immigration briefly (and unofficially) had a Three-Mohammeds-You're-Out rule, for when the occasional Mohammed bin Mohammed al-Mohammed turned up among the asylum seekers. That would seem minimally prudent.
But, no matter how many Christians Mohamed Muhammad Mohamot slaughters, we look the other way and worry about "Islamophobia". So the social-justice Pope issued a characteristically anodyne and generalized objection to "brutal terrorist attacks". It took a Jew, the former Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth Lord Sacks, to get to the heart of the matter, addressing the House of Lords three years ago on the persecution of Christians. He quoted Martin Luther King:
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Those "friends" are still silent. Unlike the pseudo-refugees of Mutti Merkel, these Copts and other Christian minorities do not want to head north and bilk Germans and Swedes for lifelong Euro-welfare. They want to stay where they are and prevent the extinction of their faith in the land where it was born. A couple of years back, I drew a contrast between them and their brethren across the Mediterranean in the ruins of Christendom:
It is hard not to admire those brave Christians in Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, their churches firebombed, their congregants attacked, but their hearts full and their faith strong.
That is even truer today, in yet another blood-soaked Advent.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Democrats' Nauseating Putin Hypocrisy

December 11, 2016

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President Barack Obama and Russian President President Vladimir Putin before a bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters on September 28, 2015.

The degree to which the Democrats have changed their tune on Vladimir Putin almost on a proverbial dime is either black comic or nauseating or both, depending on how you want to look at it. Whatever it is, it is a extremely obvious example of how party politics is conducted in our era (possibly always).

If your side does it, it's diplomatic genius bound to yield peace in our time. If the other side does the exact same thing, it's a horrendous mistake bordering on treason likely to cause a national calamity, if not global Armageddon.

If there were any decent, even semi-even-handed political science departments left in our country (okay, maybe there are one or two), what we might call the Democrats' "Great Putin Flip Flop" would be a textbook case for classroom discussion.

Let's start at the beginning, March 2009, but a few weeks after the first inauguration of Barack Obama, when a smiling Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the red "reset" button, signaling the arrival of a supposed era of peace between the two countries.  The new administration was greeted with hosannas for their great symbolism from their loyal claque at the New York TimesWashington Post, NBC, et al., who were oblivious, needless to say, that the word "peregruzka" printed in Cyrillic on the button, thought to mean "reset" in Russian by the linguistic geniuses in our State Department, was actually the word for "overload."

No wonder Lavrov has such a quizzical look on his face in the all the photos. (Imagine what the reaction of the press would have been had Trump's putative secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, done something similar. Media lynch mob?) Much more important, however,  was the extreme ignorance of the Russian character, from the Czars through Lenin and Stalin and on into the present, evinced by such a naive, almost childish, "reset." Throughout the East, of which Russia has always been a signal part despite intermittent yearnings for the West, a powerful leader has always been the center of national and tribal life.  Silly, symbolic gestures like “reset” buttons are seen as weakness, not compromises or attempts at global comity. They are something to exploit.

Image result for hillary clinton russia reset
Hillary Clinton's "reset" button with Russia being pressed by Sergei Lavrov.

Barack Obama, however, went on undeterred. The U.S. president, in South Korea in March 2012 for a nuclear security summit, was caught on open mic with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev confidentially informing the Russian president, as if Medvedev would be so stupid as not to know, that  "after my election, I will have more flexibility." Obama wanted that news conveyed to Medvedev's boss Putin so the true Russian president would give Obama some "space." Only Barack clearly didn't realize Vladmir was a capo di tutti capi and would behave like one -- not, say, a Republican senator from a swing state who could be swayed with a "chummy presidential phone call."

We all know how it turned out.  Putin read Obama well. Within a couple of years Russia had retaken the Crimea, destabilized Ukraine, and, making matters so bad that even the namby-pamby John Kerry has admitted it was a mistake, Obama's red line on Assad's use of chemical weapons had been crossed with our president doing absolutely nothing about it, allegedly in order not to offend dear Vlad, who was making him "promises."  The Russian air force was reputedly going to help us extinguish ISIS  -- or what Obama for reasons unknown insists on calling ISIL -- but ended up somehow misfiring and hitting our quasi-allies in the field, helping rend them at this point virtually non-existent, while Assad is now marching into Aleppo and has Syria, forever a Russian client, practically all to his despotic self again.

And then there's the little matter of Iran, also a client of Russia when Putin wants it to be, financing as much mayhem as it can from Iraq to Yemen and beyond (they are believed to have camps in Venezuela), arming the terrorist thugs of Hezbollah, all with unbelievable sums of money donated by Obama for an inexplicable and unwelcome nuclear deal hardly a single American understands and about which Vladimir Putin knows far more than any member of the U.S. Congress (which never had a chance to vote on it anyway).

Has any American president done more for Russia for less reason?  (At least FDR united with Stalin to defeat Hitler.)

Obviously not, although the same media claque (aka court eunuchs) aren't even mentioning this as they all go into a full-tilt attempt, with CIA help, to malign Donald Trump as the next American president selected (but not apparently elected) by the hackers of the Russian Republic.

Do I believe Trump actually was the Russians' preference? That would be mighty optimistic on their part. How could they do better than Obama, considering the last eight years?  And why not just as well elect a weakened Hillary? My guess is, if (big if) they were the instigators of the hacking of the embarrassingly cyber-incompetent DNC  (what is wrong with these people -- it's 2016), they were equal-opportunity hackers, anxious to create confusion and finger-pointing (they succeed with that), rather than specific results that would be hard to control.

This would be consistent with Russian/Soviet behavior over generations.  For those who have not read it, one of the best places to understand this is Disinformation, a remarkable book by sometime PJ Media contributor Ion Pacepa, one of the highest-ranking defectors from the East.  (He once ran Romanian intelligence under Ceausescu.) Mandatory reading on a similar topic is Whittaker Chambers' extraordinary memoir Witnesswith its stories of the Soviet infiltration of our government way back to the 1920s.

The question we should all be asking about the CIA's sudden revelation of online tampering with our election by the Russians is how come it took our intelligence agencies so long to figure this out?  That's assuming it's all not a "false flag" operation, as John Bolton is alleging. (I wouldn't bet against him.)  Nevertheless, why are we so permeable to anyone and everyone? Why did John Podesta fall for a phishing scheme most fourteen-year olds would have avoided? What's wrong with our cyber-defenses? Didn't we invent the Internet? Al Gore, where are you?

Well, we know.

But let me ask one last question whose answer should be evident to any sentient being not a member of the editorial board of The New York Times. Who do you think would better understand and deal with Vladimir Putin -- Barack Obama or Donald Trump?

Yes, the KGB  and its successors know the difference between a community organizer and a CEO.  Don't we all?

The Dutch Death Spiral

From Paradise to Bolshevik Thought Police

December 11, 2016

Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom (PVV) and his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops (L) prior to his trial, at Schiphol, Badhoevedorp, The Netherlands (18 March 2016)
Geert Wilders (left) leads the Party for Freedom (EPA)

A country whose most outspoken filmmaker was slaughtered by an Islamist; whose bravest refugee, hunted by a fatwa, fled to the U.S.; whose cartoonists must live under protection, had better think twice before condemning a Member of Parliament, whose comments about Islam have forced him to live under 24-hour protection for more than a decade, for "hate speech." Poor Erasmus! The Netherlands is no longer a safe haven for free thinkers. It is the Nightmare for Free Speech.

The most prominent politician in the Netherlands, MP Geert Wilders, has just been convicted of "inciting discrimination and insulting a minority group," for asking at a really if there should be fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. Many newly-arrived Moroccans in the Netherlands seem to have been responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime there.

Paul Cliteur, Professor of Jurisprudence at Leiden University, who was called as an expert witness, summed up the message coming from the court: "It would have been better if the Dutch state had sent a clear signal [to terrorists] via a Dutch court that we foster a broad notion of the freedom of expression in the Netherlands."

Here are just a few details to help understand what Wilders experiences every day because of his ideas: No visitors are allowed into his office except after a long wait to be checked. The Dutch airline KLM refused to board him on a flight to Moscow for reasons of "security." His entourage is largely anonymous. When a warning level rises, he does not know where he will spend the night. For months, he was able to see his wife only twice a week, in a secure apartment, and then only when the police allowed it. The Parliament had to place him in the less visible part of the building, in order better to protect him. He often wears a bulletproof vest to speak in public. When he goes to a restaurant, his security detail must first check the place out.

Wilders's life is a nightmare. "I am in jail," he has said; "they are walking around free."

The historic dimension of Wilders's conviction is related not only to the terrible injustice done to this MP, but that it was the Netherlands that, for the first time in Europe, criminalized dissenting opinions about Islam.

The Netherlands is a very small country; whatever happens to this enclave is seen in the rest of Europe. The Netherlands refused to surrender to the Spanish invasion. It was from Rotterdam, the second-largest Dutch city, that the Founding Fathers left to create the United States of America. It was to the Netherlands that some of the most brave, original European philosophers and writers -- Descartes, Rousseau, Locke, Sade, Molière, Hugo, Swift and Spinoza -- had to flee to publish their books. It is also the only corner of Europe where there were no pogroms against Jews, and where Rembrandt painted Jesus with the physical traits of Jews.

Take Leiden: "Praesidium Libertatis" ("Bastion of Freedom") is the motto of the Netherlands' most ancient university. Leiden was the university of Johan Huizinga, the great historian who opposed the Nazis and died in a concentration camp. Leiden was also the university of Anton Pannekoek, the mentor of Martinus Van der Lubbe, the Dutch hero who torched the Nazi Parliament in 1933.

In Leiden today, you meet brave intellectuals such as Afshin Ellian, an Iranian jurist who fled Khomeini's Revolution in Iran and who also now lives under police protection for his observations on Islam. Ellian's office is close to the former office of Rudolph Cleveringa. When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and called on Dutch public officials to fill out a form in which they had to declare whether they were "Aryans" or "Jews", everyone but Cleveringa capitulated. He understood the consequences of such commands.

Twelve years ago, the Netherlands was again plunged into fear for the first time since World War II. In Linnaeusstraat, a district of Amsterdam, Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim extremist, ambushed the filmmaker Theo van Gogh and slaughtered him, then pinned on his chest a letter threatening the lives of Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Before that murder, Pim Fortuyn, a professor who had formed his own party to save the country from Islamization, was shot to death to "defend Dutch Muslims from persecution."

Murdered film-maker Theo van Gogh (left) and ex-Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Theo Van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Fortuyn had said, "We have a lot of guests who are trying to take over the house."

Since then, many Dutch artists have capitulated to fear.

Sooreh Hera, from Iran, submitted her photos to the Gemeentemuseum Museum in The Hague. One of these works depicted Mohammed and Ali. After many threats, the museum proposed that it would acquire the photos without publishing them and that one day, perhaps, when the situation was calmer, they might show them then. Hera refused: it would have been self-censorship, a sad day for the West. Rants Tjan, director of Museum Gouda, bravely offered to exhibit her censored images, but that event was later cancelled, too. Hera was forced to go into hiding.

Paul Cliteur, a critic of multiculturalism, announced that he would no longer write for Dutch newspapers about Islam, for fear of reprisals: "With the murder of van Gogh, everyone who writes takes a certain risk. That is a scary development. What I am doing do is self-censorship, absolutely...."

Then a columnist, Hasna el Maroudi, from the newspaper NRC Handelsblad, stopped writing, after receiving threats.

The Dutch artist Rachid Ben Ali, irreverent about Islam, no longer satirizes Muslims.

Amsterdam, a city famous for its exuberant cultural life, had already lived through threats to artists: the occupation by the Nazis during World War II.

Several artists still refuse to mention Theo Van Gogh, so as not to "contribute to... divisions", according to the New York Times. Translation: They are afraid. Who would not be?

In the Oosterpark, a steel sculpture by the artist Jeroen Henneman, dedicated to Van Gogh, is entitled "De Schreeuw" ("The Scream"). But it is a scream you hardly hear in the Dutch society.

What you do hear is the defiant protest after the conviction of a brave MP, Geert Wilders: "I will never be silent. You will not be able to stop me... And that is what we stand for. For freedom and for our beautiful Netherlands."

Before being slaughtered, clinging to a basket, Theo van Gogh begged his assassin: "Can we talk about this?"

But can we talk?

Ask Geert Wilders, just the latest brave victim of Europe's Bolshevik thought police.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.